#InternationalWomensDay story time! This actually happened a few months back. We were at a DEV CON for a lecture on…
- Sarah Parmenter: Speaking up.
- Jen Strickland: It sucks to be female.
- Jensen Inman: Speaking up, it’s time
- Relly Annet-Baker: Also speaking up.
- Whitney Hess: Speaking up
- Geek Feminism Wiki: Timeline of Incidents
- That it was applied to the whole lot of women interested in local tech events (versus the singled-out harassment experienced by Sarah et al above);
- That it was reducing the participation of ladies in a tech event to menial, non-tech related assignments solely on the basis of their gender;
- That females (co-organizers even) liked and commented on it without even batting an eyelash;
- That succeeding comments in the thread made light of it even further;
- That it isn’t the first time such tropes or gimmicks have turned up in the community.
If people think this is too small of a deal to even focus on, then they have a problem. Do people have to tolerate, turn a blind eye, or be desensitized to a certain level first before it becomes a really horrific cautionary tale, something “worthy” of “intellectual discussions” on HackerNews or Quora? Worse things always evolve from a buildup of small things people get away with.
I’m not sure attempting to fix it with required gender ratios and girl-only events will help much (especially if all the mentors/people of power are male anyway), but I guess it’s better than nothing. It’s better than acknowledging all sorts of marginalized groups except this one.
I don’t know if that’ll change anything about those who never had that sense of respect in the first place, though. And if it doesn’t happen on that level, the change that’s supposed to happen on a larger scale will remain superficial and never take root.